The California Endowment Healthy Eating, Active Communities South Los Angeles. Los Angeles Unified School District Norwood Street Elementary School

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1 The California Endowment Healthy Eating, Active Communities South Los Angeles Los Angeles Unified School District Norwood Street Elementary School Student Fitness and Academic Performance Report Prepared for the HEAC South Los Angeles School Sector by Kaiser Group, Inc. February 2009

2 Acknowledgements Healthy Eating, Active Communities (HEAC) is funded by The California Endowment. The HEAC South Los Angeles initiative, which includes Norwood Street Elementary School, would not be possible without their generous support. Funding from The California Endowment also made this report possible. The cooperation and assistance of many people was essential to the completion of this report. Special thanks belongs to: Chad Fenwick, Physical Education Advisor, Los Angeles Unified School District Adriana Valenzuela, Physical Education Advisor, Los Angeles Unified School District Normandie Nigh, Executive Director, A World Fit For Kids! Ian Keiller and the after school staff team, A World Fit For Kids! Zeph Lee, Physical Education Teacher, Norwood Street Elementary School Bruce Onodera and the teaching staff, Norwood Street Elementary School Cynthia Lim, Executive Director, Office of Data and Accountability, Los Angeles Unified School District For More Information Contact Adriana Valenzuela (LAUSD) at or for more information about this report, the Norwood school-wide model, or HEAC South Los Angeles and participating schools and community partners. Healthy Eating, Active Communities (HEAC) South Los Angeles Partners for Norwood Street Elementary School A World Fit For Kids! American Lung Association California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) CANFit Coalition for Community Health Center for Food and Justice Community Health Promotoras HEAC South Los Angeles Neighborhood Sector Healthy School Food Coalition Hooper Street Elementary Healthy Start Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Marathon Kids Network for a Healthy California (Former Nutrition Network) NIKE, Inc. Norwood Elementary Healthy Start Norwood Street Elementary School QueensCare Ready, Set, Go! Skillastics Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEELA) The Childhood Obesity Brain Trust The California Endowment United States Tennis Association (USTA)

3 Introduction In 2005, The California Endowment started a new initiative, Healthy Eating, Active Communities (HEAC), to prevent and reduce childhood obesity and diabetes. Both obesity and diabetes are leading contributors to preventable deaths, and are more prevalent in low-income, minority communities. The innovative HEAC project aims to change the environments in which children live to better support daily healthy choices. Local, state and national partners in school, after school, health care and advertising work together to improve food and physical activity policies and practices. This comprehensive approach ensures that lasting system-wide changes occur and that the changes work in local communities. South Los Angeles is one of six local collaboratives funded through HEAC. South LA is a lowincome, primarily Latino community that has the highest rate of childhood obesity in Los Angeles county. 1 In the first phase of HEAC, the South Los Angeles collaborative accomplished many of its goals. A few highlights of these include: nutritional content menu labeling at local restaurants, nutrition training for students, community agency staff and neighborhood residents, and district superintendent support for improved physical education training across Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). 2 The collaborative also worked to improve school environments within four partner schools. These efforts were specific to each partner s needs. HEAC is now in its second phase and this phase involves an increased emphasis on school and neighborhood activities, including after school programs. In , South LA enhanced its work by providing a school-wide change model at partner school, Norwood Street Elementary. Several of the components had been in place since work started with Norwood in 2006, but is the year in which a full model was implemented. The goal is to substantially change school culture and operations related to physical education, physical activity and healthy eating. The collaborative decided full implementation of a potential best practices model would be best at just the one partner school in order to fully develop it and document its effectiveness. 3 The ability to identify its benefits can help show other schools and communities the importance of integrating information and opportunities related to physical activity and healthy eating into students daily lives. This report describes the model and documents the changes in Norwood student fitness levels and academic performance since HEAC began and during the course of this full model implementation year. 4 The report addresses the following key questions for the school year: To what extent do the physical fitness levels of Norwood students improve? Do additional fitness benefits occur for students who attend the after school program? To what extent does the academic performance of Norwood students improve? Is there a relationship between student fitness and academic performance? 1 Source: County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health. (July 2008). LA Health Trends: Childhood Obesity. 2 Refer to for a more complete description of South LA collaborative (zip codes and 90011) and its accomplishments. 3 While other partner schools did not receive the full model, HEAC continued to address specific needs at each, including Muir Middle School, Manual Arts High School, The Accelerated Charter School, and throughout South LA. 4 This report is concerned only with describing the Norwood school-wide change model and documenting results specific to it. For an evaluation of HEAC South Los Angeles and the other HEAC California communities please refer to the website of the state-wide evaluators, Samuels and Associates: 1

4 Description of Norwood and the School-Wide Change Model Norwood Street Elementary is a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Title I school serving children in grades Kindergarten through 5. As described above, the school is located in South Los Angeles where neighborhood characteristics put children at high risk for health problems and low academic achievement. Norwood enrolled 735 students in Almost all of the students are Hispanic (97%) and socio-economically disadvantaged (91%). Half (51%) are also English learners with Spanish as their primary language. 5 When HEAC first began, the academic achievement and physical fitness of Norwood students was critically low. For example, only 29% of the fifth graders passed the state academic standards for English/Language Arts, and only 17% passed the state physical fitness standards. 6 A substantial body of current research indicates that both educational attainment and physical fitness in childhood affect a person s quality of health and life in adulthood. 7 School-Wide Change Model Children spend one-third of their lives in school, and schools in low-income neighborhoods are often one of the last safe, public spaces where children can play. Because schools have such an important role in the community, changing how they support children s health also changes the larger community. As described in the introduction, the HEAC South LA school-wide change model aims to substantially improve school culture and operations related to physical education, physical activity and healthy eating. LAUSD s Physical Education Advisory Team and its after school partner, A World Fit For Kids! (WFIT), work closely together to provide the core components of the model. More than 20 other partners also support its implementation (See partner list). The model is designed to meet three main objectives. Each objective is listed below along with a summary description of the best practices that HEAC South LA had in place at Norwood Street Elementary in Improve the quality of the school day physical education program Because of HEAC, LAUSD has a team of credentialed physical education teachers who guide fitness change efforts for the district and the South LA partner schools. This team includes a credentialed physical education teacher who was located at Norwood full-time in to lead the on-site program. 8 Key components of the quality physical education program include: Design the program to follow state physical education standards. Have an on-site, credentialed physical education teacher lead activities for students. Engage students in physical activities and games that are fun and build skills over time. Be inclusive provide activities appropriate for all differing ages and abilities. Monitor compliance with state-required number of physical education instructional minutes. Provide training and role modeling for classroom teachers on best practices for activities. Integrate healthy eating information and academic lessons into physical education. Use the criterion-referenced physical fitness assessment Fitnessgram with grade K-5 students as a periodic practice and motivational tool, and additionally for grade 3-5 students as a periodic progress check. Fitnessgram includes six assessment areas, with the tests adaptable by age and the standards set by gender and age groups. Recognize student progress, through a fitness bulletin board, an annual awards ceremony, and involvement in national efforts (e.g., Marathon Kids and President s Fitness Challenge). 5 Source: enrollment data provided by LAUSD s Office of Data and Accountability. 6 Source: data downloaded from California Department of Education s Dataquest web-site. 7 Benard, B. (2004). Resiliency: What we have learned. San Francisco, CA: WestEd. 8 Note that the school had a credentialed physical education teacher in but not in

5 2. Increase opportunities for after school participation in high quality physical activities that are linked to the school day physical education program The HEAC South LA collaborative includes A World Fit For Kids! (WFIT), a state recognized leader of physical activity based after school programming for youth. WFIT's mission is preparing young people for fit and fulfilling lives through promoting physical health, educational achievement, emotional maturity and leadership. For the past three years, WFIT has provided a daily after school program for three hours a day at Norwood. WFIT enhanced the program in to increase its collaboration in promoting fitness and nutrition. Key components are: Keep enrollment open to any student who wants to join (no academic or fitness criteria). Provide a variety of daily structured, supervised activities, including physical activity games, sports, dance, nutrition education, homework assistance, and mentoring from trained college and high school students. Engage students daily in at least 40 minutes of quality physical activity that is fun and meets moderate to vigorous aerobic standards. Provide nutrition education, using a curriculum designed by an on-staff nutritionist. Reinforce school day fitness efforts by hiring the Norwood school day credentialed physical education teacher to link with after school. Key links occur through: the physical education teacher helping WFIT staff integrate the school day fitness standards into their after school work. having the WFIT staff attend the physical education teacher s school day sessions to observe best practice activities. WFIT staff supporting the physical education teacher s periodic assessment work. WFIT providing some of the same key activities after school, such as Marathon Kids, so students have additional opportunities to practice their skills. 3. Improve the consistency of messages about healthy eating and physical activity The third objective focuses on improving the consistency of the health messages that students receive from all the adults in their lives as well as engaging more adults in taking active roles in helping students improve fitness. The larger HEAC South LA community efforts have a role in addressing this. Additional efforts specific to Norwood include: Provide a Walking Club for parents, led by the credentialed physical education teacher, in which parents participate in fitness activities similar to what their children do during the day. Hold a parent nutrition program series, provided by A World Fit for Kids!, that includes information on the health effects of diabetes and obesity, practical tips on healthy eating, and demonstrations on preparing healthy snacks and meals. Maintain a fitness board near the front entrance of the school that includes tips for parents, students and teachers about food and physical activity. Provide referrals to South LA agency partners to connect children and families to community health and nutrition services. Work with local street vendors to keep them from selling junk food near the school. Report Data Sources and Methods The primary purpose of this report is to assess the fitness levels and any changes in those for Norwood students during the HEAC implementation period, and to assess if fitness and academic performance are related. Because the project aims to create changes in how the school works, all enrolled students receive benefits from the school-day efforts. Students who attend the after school program receive additional benefits. HEAC efforts have been ongoing at Norwood since 2006, with the more intensive work in Thus, two types of data are included: publicly available, school-wide data for the HEAC period from 2006 to 2009 and student-level data for the full model year. 3

6 For student-level data, the report focuses on grades 3-5. It is more appropriate to use fitness tests to assess change for older elementary students, and older students have standardized academic tests for at least two years. Because this is an environmental model, data are also only included for students who attended Norwood for all of Excluding students who started or finished the year at a different school helps control for any differences in fitness or instructional experiences during the year. See the table below for specific data sources. Data Type Source Notes School Academic Performance Index School Fitnessgram results for 5 th grade California Department of Education Fitnessgram assessments, overall score and in each of six areas After school program attendance records Fitness/Nutrition surveys Student demographic and academic performance information Norwood physical education teacher and classroom teachers, with assistance from A World Fit For Kids! staff A World Fit For Kids! A World Fit For Kids!, with help from Norwood physical education teacher LAUSD s Office of Data and Accountability Collected on the school for the years of 2006 through 2009 Administered to students in November/December 2008 (Fall) and March/April 2009 (Spring) Assessments were done for program purposes, then provided for Gr 3-5 for this report. Because this was the first year of implementing Fitnessgram more than once and with all grades, assessment did not occur for all six areas at both time points for all students. Grade 3-5 Enrollment=344; meet report criteria (at Norwood all year & assessed in at least 1 area)=315 (92% of enrolled). Assessed all 6 areas: Fall=170, Spring=245; Both=165. Collected for students who attended in Report includes students who attended WFIT 4+ months (89) and have Fitnessgram for all 6 areas at both times (48) Administered to Grade 3-5 students in Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 Survey was designed by the after school program and administered in physical education classes. Its purpose was to collect information on knowledge and behavior changes related to fitness and nutrition. 242 students completed a survey at both time points (70% of enrolled). Provided for all students enrolled at Norwood as of the begining of (N=735) Data include records (year of full model implementation) and records (year prior). Four performance variables are considered in this report: California Standards Test (CST) scores in English / Language Arts and Math and Spring school report card grades in Reading and Math. Ns range from The analysis approach includes descriptives (e.g., percentages) to describe fitness and academic outcome levels and changes. Change analyses only include students with both time points of the specific outcome data. Correlations are used to identify significant relationships between fitness and after school participation, fitness and academic performance, and demographic variables and academic performance. Because all students were not assessed in all six Fitnessgram areas at both time points, the correlations include students who have data for at least one assessment area (versus including only those with data for all six areas). This approach is appropriate for this year given it is the first year of full model implementation and the data trends show that students who did not receive all six tests were more likely to have lower fitness levels. An appendix with additional methodology information and data tables was prepared for the HEAC South LA School Sector and can be made available upon request. 4

7 Norwood Student Fitness The California Department of Education (CDE) requires schools to administer a fitness test, Fitnessgram, to all 5th, 7th and 9th grade students every Spring. Fitnessgram is a criterionreferenced assessment and educational tool used by schools throughout the nation. It consists of six assessment areas that each look at a specific criteria of physical health, including aerobic capacity, three strength areas (abdominal, upper body and trunk extensor), flexibility, and body composition. If a student scores in the healthy fitness zone (HFZ) for their age and gender in any one of the areas, there is some protection against diseases in that area. For example, students in the HFZ for aerobic capacity are more protected from future heart disease. The higher number of tests in the HFZ, the higher the students overall fitness level. CDE Fitness Data 2006 to 2009 Data submitted to CDE by Norwood for the required 5 th grade testing shows student fitness improved substantially between the start of HEAC and the current year. The percentage of 5th graders who meet the HFZ in at least 5 of the 6 areas increased from 17% to 59% between 2006 and The 2009 Norwood percentage now exceeds both the district and state-wide percentages, which are 49% and 56% respectively. (Figure 1) While there is little change in the Norwood percentage between 2008 and 2009, two changes occurred that increased the rigor of 2009 testing. First, the physical education teacher oversaw the testing this year to improve administration consistency across classroom teachers. Second, more rigor was introduced into the testing and recording processes, such as by using the Sit and Reach test for flexibility instead of the Shoulder Stretch and using a multi-runner, digital stopwatch for the Mile. The Norwood school-wide change model takes Fitnessgram beyond state requirements. All K-5 students participate in assessments appropriate to their age a few times a year. The approach is not to teach to the test (i.e., do push-ups every day) but rather to build skills through fun games and physical activities. Fitnessgram is used to: identify areas in which students need to improve, help students become familiar with fitness standards, and help students see their own progress, thus motivating them to continue building their skills. While it is appropriate to use Fitnessgram for these purposes with all ages, recording it for comparison purposes is appropriate only for older students. All the findings that follow include data only for grade 3 to 5. School Fitness Data Because Norwood expanded its use of Fitnessgram, data are available for the school year for students in grades 3 to 5 and for two time points: Fall (November/December 2008) and Spring (March/April 2009). Of the 245 grade 3-5 students tested in the Spring, a majority (60%) could meet the HFZ in at least 5 of the 6 assessment areas. This percentage is about the same for each of the three grade levels (range is 56% to 62%). 5

8 Improvement occurred between the Fall and Spring assessments. Of the 165 grade 3-5 students tested in all six areas both times, the percentage that meet the HFZ for 5-6 of the 6 areas increased from 33% to 64% between Fall and Spring this year. Comparing the fitness levels for boys and girls shows that a higher percentage of boys reach the HFZ in 5-6 areas at both times. However, improvement is similar for boys and girls. The percentage in the HFZ for 5-6 areas increased by about 30% for both genders during the year. (Figure 2) Because each Fitnessgram area assesses a different physical health criteria, it is important to look at each individual area. By the Spring, more students could meet the HFZ for aerobic capacity, flexibility, and all three strength areas. For example, the percentage in the HFZ increased from 33% to 70% for curl-ups and 43% to 69% for push-ups. The Body Mass Index is the one area in which the percentage stayed about the same; and that is not unexpected given the BMI takes much longer to change than the other areas. (Figure 3) In some areas the percentage in the HFZ is already high at the first time point, such as the trunk strength and aerobic capacity. This is partially due to the timing of the first assessment, which occurred in November/December when the model had already been in place two months. This 6

9 is purposeful timing from the implementation standpoint because it allows students time to build fitness skills through games and activities before introducing assessment. Another way to look at progress is to identify how many students improved on each area s tests, regardless of whether or not they met the HFZ. For example, the PACER is a measure of aerobic capacity in which students complete as many laps as they can, with the lap length grade-specific. More than 80% of the students improved how many laps they could complete. Third graders increased their average by 6 laps and 4 th -5 th graders by 8 laps. For the 4 th and 5 th graders who also ran the Mile, they decreased their average time by a minute. While the percentage of students in the HFZ for Body Mass Index did not change much, more than one-third of the students improved their BMI within the four months between assessments. Fitness/Nutrition Knowledge and Behavior Survey The approach this year included incorporating information about healthy eating and fitness into physical education and after school activities. A survey with Norwood s 3 rd to 5 th grade students shows that their knowledge improved over the course of the year. In the Fall, only 18% of students could correctly answer 4 or 5 of 5 knowledge questions, and that increased to 46% by the Spring. They improved most in their knowledge that children need at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity to be healthy. In general, students already had some knowledge about healthy eating. For example, 85% already knew in the Fall that they should eat fruits, vegetables and grains to be healthy. That is quite high, yet still increased to 93%. In addition, more students indicate by the end of the year that they are engaged in healthier habits. For example, the percentage of students drinking water at least three times a day increased from 60% to 67%. More students also became involved in activities considered to be at a moderate to vigorous activity level: 68% initially said they did activities that made them sweat or breathe hard and that increased to 81% by Spring. Added Value of the After School Program on Fitness Many of the Norwood 3 rd -5 th grade students attended the A World Fit For Kids! (WFIT) after school program in The longer and more often students attend the after school program, the higher their fitness levels by Spring. This relationship between higher attendance in after school and better fitness levels is statistically significant. 9 The added value of the after school program can also be seen by comparing non-participants to WFIT participants who attended the program for more than one-third of the school year (i.e., four or more months). Of the students who were tested in all six Fitnessgram areas at both time points, 75% of the regular WFIT participants meet the HFZ in 5-6 of 6 areas by the Spring compared to 64% of non-participants. (Figure 4) 9 Pearson correlation coefficient is.267 and is significant at p <.01 (N=96). 7

10 In addition, WFIT participants start with much lower fitness levels than non-participants. Only 29% of participants could meet the HFZ in 5-6 areas in the Fall compared to 39% of nonparticipants. This indicates that the program does not just attract students who already have higher fitness levels. WFIT participants and non-participants are similar in almost all other ways (e.g., prior year academic performance), with WFIT having a slightly higher percentage of girls, low-income students and students with a disability than in the general population. Norwood Student Academic Performance Many factors impact school performance, primary of which is academic leadership and instructional support. While these are the major factors, an increasing body of research shows that fitness is also a factor in children s academic performance. 10 This section explores how Norwood academic performance changed, using both school-wide and student-level data, over the entire HEAC period and specifically during the school-wide model implementation year. CDE Academic Data 2006 to 2009 Since 2006, Norwood Elementary has steadily improved its Academic Performance Index (API) score. Norwood made its most substantial academic gain between last year and this year, with a 47-point increase in API. This is more than three times the improvement seen in district and state averages. The school s new principal implemented instructional changes simultaneous with HEAC South LA implementing the fitness model, and both changes occurred while other support services continued (e.g., Healthy Start). In 2009, Norwood met all state API requirements and federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements. In addition to meeting the school-wide academic growth target, Norwood met its growth targets for all of its significant student sub-groups, including students who are Latino, socio-economically disadvantaged, English learners, and identified with a disability. As a result, Norwood was removed from active Program Improvement (PI) status. If the school meets all of its targets again in 2010, it will be removed from PI status. 11 School Academic Data The school-wide improvement is a reflection of student improvement. Similar to the API change, the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced on the California Standards Test (CST) for English/Language Arts greatly improved this year from last from 27% last year to 43% this year. CST Math also improved, from 58% proficient/ advanced to 67%. 10 Sources include: London, R.A., Castrechini, S. (2009). Exploring the Link between Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement. Youth Data Archive Issue Brief of the John W. Gardner Center. Chomitz et al. (2009). Is There a Relationship Between Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement? Journal of School Health, 79 (1): 30. Grissom, J. B. (2005). Physical fitness and academic achievement. Journal of Exercise Physiologyonline, Vol 8 (1). 11 For information on California s accountability system, refer to 8

11 Relationship between Fitness and Academic Performance Norwood student fitness levels and academic performance are related. For example, students who meet the HFZ in 5-6 Fitnessgram areas are more likely to be academically proficient/advanced than those meeting the HFZ in fewer areas. (Figure 6) All four measures of academic performance in 2009 are significantly and positively correlated with the number of Fitnessgram areas students pass that Spring. (Figure 7) That is, the higher a student s fitness level, the higher their academic performance on English/Language Arts and Math standardized tests and report cards. Correlations between Spring fitness levels and change in students grades from the prior year indicate higher fitness is also related to more grade improvement. (CST change not appropriate to compare.) Figure 7. Spring 2009 Academic Performance and Fitness Level Correlations Correlation with Number Fitnessgram Areas Academic Performance Variables in Healthy Fitness Zone in Spring 2009^ Coefficient^^ N CST ELA Proficiency Score Spring ** 297 CST Math Proficiency Score Spring ** 294 Report Card Reading Grade Spring ** 298 Report Card Math Grade Spring ** 298 Change in Reading Grade Spring 2008 to * 298 Change in Math Grade Spring 2008 to * 298 * Significant at the 0.05 level; ** Significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed) ^ Includes students with at least one area assessed, not restricted to those with all six assessed (See Methods). ^^ Coefficients can range to a max of 1.0, and higher coefficients indicate stronger relationships. Significant correlations also occur between Spring 2009 academic outcomes and Fall 2008 fitness and between Spring 2008 academics and this year s Fall and Spring fitness. Thus, students with higher fitness levels at any point have higher academic performance at any point. This indicates there is a relationship between fitness and academics, though not one that can be classified into cause and effect. It is not possible to conclude if being more fit helps children perform better academically or if being stronger academically helps children improve fitness. Other factors help explain academic performance. The four 2009 academic measures are more strongly correlated with language classification and prior year academic performance than with fitness. Student language classification as an English learner or not is also correlated with fitness (English learner students have lower fitness and academics). Demographics, such as grade and gender, are significantly correlated with academics but the coefficients are lower than those found between academics and fitness. This indicates fitness is just one factor related to academic performance, but an important one to begin including in an understanding of it Regression analysis would help control for relationship of other variables to academics and better isolate the effect of fitness. The Norwood population is too homogenous for this and more students needed all 6 areas tested twice. 9

12 Summary In , the Healthy Eating, Active Communities (HEAC) South Los Angeles collaborative enhanced its work by providing a school-wide change model at one of its partner schools, Norwood Street Elementary. Norwood is a Title I school with a 97% Latino student population. Several program model components had been in place since 2006, when HEAC South LA started thanks to The California Endowment, but is the year in which a full model was implemented. The goal is to substantially change school culture and operations related to physical education, physical activity and healthy eating. Several key findings emerge from this report on Norwood grade 3-5 students fitness and academic performance. The percentage of Norwood 5 th graders who meet the healthy fitness zone (HFZ) in at least 5 of 6 Fitnessgram areas increased from 17% to 59% between 2006 and The Norwood percentage now exceeds both the district and state-wide percentages. By the end of the year, a majority (60%) of students in grade 3-5 could meet the healthy fitness zone criteria for their age and gender in at least 5 of the 6 fitness areas. Comparing students assessed in Fall and Spring of shows the percentage that meet the HFZ for 5-6 of the 6 areas increased substantially from 33% to 64%. By Spring, more students could meet the HFZ for the specific assessment areas of aerobic capacity, flexibility, and all three strength areas (abdominal, upper body and trunk extensor). More than one-third of students improve their body mass index, though they did not necessarily meet the HFZ. The percentage in the HFZ is about the same in Fall and Spring. Student knowledge about fitness and nutrition also improved. In the Fall, only 18% could correctly answer 4 or 5 of 5 knowledge questions and that increased to 46% by the Spring. The longer and more often students attend the A World Fit For Kids! after school program, the higher their fitness levels are by Spring. After school participants are also more likely than non-participants to improve their fitness levels. The Norwood Academic Performance Index (API) improved by 47 points between last year and this year, more than three times the improvement seen in district and state averages. Norwood also met all of its state and federal accountability requirements. Fitness and academic performance are significantly related. That is, the higher a student s fitness level, the higher their standardized test scores and school grades in both English and Math. For example, 51% of students in the HFZ for 5-6 areas are proficient/advanced on the English/Language Arts CST, compared to 33% of those in the HFZ in fewer areas. Fitness and academics are also correlated with other factors, such as prior performance and language classification. The nature of correlational research plus these findings indicate that while fitness and academics are related, it is not possible to conclude if being more fit helps children academically or if being stronger academically helps children s fitness. These findings are in line with other research conducted on the connections between fitness and academic achievement. Other studies have also found that performing better in one area means students perform better in the other. While which is cause and which effect has not been conclusively shown, the importance of this relationship does not rely on that conclusion. The important lesson from this year s Norwood school-wide model implementation is the knowledge that efforts at improving fitness and academic achievement complement, not compete with, each other. The simultaneous academic and fitness improvements that occurred at Norwood this year show the value of providing high-quality physical education linked to highquality after school activities within a high-quality instructional program. 10

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